Led by Top Ten in Derby Points
Gary and Mary West’s champion Game Winner and Gary Barber’s War of Will, a two-time graded stakes winner this year, are among the 10 leading point earners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby who are nominated to the 95th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
Nominations Nominations PPs
The Blue Grass received 137 nominations. It's set for April 6, opening Saturday of Keeneland’s 2019 Spring Meet, with a 6:23 p.m. ET post. NBC Sports Network will have live coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass, the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby from 5:30 to 7:30 ET. TVG will provide live, enhanced coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass and all Keeneland stakes.
The 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass awards the winner 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers of the race receive 40 points, 20 points and 10 points, respectively.
Keeneland’s 11-race card on April 6 will feature five stakes worth $2.25 million:
--the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland, for 3-year-old fillies, at 1 1/16 mile;
--the $300,000 Madison for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs on the dirt;
--the $200,000 Shakertown for 3-year-olds and up at 51/2 furlongs on the turf; and
--the $250,000 Commonwealth for older horses at seven furlongs on the dirt.
That day, Keeneland will offer a $400,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four and a $300,000-guaranteed All Stakes Pick Five.
Purchased for $110,000 at Keeneland’s 2017 September Yearling Sale, 2018 2-year-old champion Game Winner is undefeated in four starts and is expected to make his 2019 debut in the March 9 San Felipe at Santa Anita.
With 30 points, Game Winner is second on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard behind War of Will with 60 points. A 2017 September Sale graduate, War of Will won the Risen Star Presented by Lamarque Ford and Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds in his first two races of 2019.
Every 3-year-old male ranked in the top 10 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard is nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass:
--Mrs. J.V. Shields Jr., E.J.M. McFadden Jr. and LNJ Foxwoods’ Country House, runner-up in the Risen Star;
--KRA Stud Farm’s Knicks Go, winner of the 2018 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile;
--Tommie M. Lewis, David A. Bernsen and Magdalena Racing’s Signalman, winner of the 2018 Kentucky Jockey Club;
--Hollendorfer, Pearl Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Sham winner Gunmetal Gray;
--Willis Horton Racing’s two-time 2018 listed stakes winner Long Range Toddy, third in the Southwest;
--Michael Lund Petersen’s Robert B. Lewis winner Mucho Gusto;
--Cash Is King and LC Racing’s Remsen winner Maximus Mischief, who unfortunately will need substantial time off, his trainer said yesterday; and
--R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable’s Withers winner Tax.
With 13 horses nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass, multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher leads all trainers by nominees. Pletcher has three wins in the race with Bandini (2005), Monba (2008) and Carpe Diem (2015).
Other prominent trainers with the largest number of horses nominated to the race are Steve Asmussen (11), Bob Baffert (10), Dallas Stewart (nine), Mark Casse (eight), Jerry Hollendorfer (seven), Bill Mott (seven) and Dale Romans (six).
The late nomination period for the Toyota Blue Grass closes on March 20.